DIY Elimination Diet for Dog and Cat

Dogs and cats with long-standing skin or gastrointestinal troubles may be suffering food allergy.   Once you’ve dispelled the myths surrounding food allergy, you’re ready to test.  If you’re really serious about identifying a dietary allergen, forget expensive and unreliable blood tests,  and go straight to a food elimination trial.  If the response to this temporary diet is good, you’re already halfway to fingering the offending ingredient, excluding it, and solving your allergy problem.  Unlike humans, who quickly grow bored and break dietary rules, pets often happily dine year-in, year-out, on the same old low-allergy diet.

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What is your pet allergic to?

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Diagnosing Food allergy: Blood test versus elimination diet

The use of blood tests for diagnosing food allergy is controversial. Commercial laboratories offer vets a blood testing service with an accuracy of up to 60%, at best. Many vet dermatologists view them as ‘absolutely useless’, resulting in false negatives and false positives, and elimination diet remains the gold standard for food allergy diagnosis.

If you’re lazy, impatient for an answer, and unphased by cost, do the blood test, but if excluding the identified allergen doesn’t seem to work, you’ll need to resort to an elimination trial anyway. I don’t recommend wasting your money on blood tests; spend it on an venison instead.

Principles of an elimination diet

Ingredients and recipes

Have as few ingredients as possible: preferably one source of protein, and one source of carbohydrate. The more ingredients, especially if commercial foods are included, the greater the likelihood an allergen may be inadvertently included in the elimination diet, ending in a false negative result.

Dogs should be fed a protein and carbohydrate that has rarely, if ever, been offered previously. Unusual protein sources are ideal, such as kangaroo, rabbit, duck, turkey, crocodile, or other game meats. Fish is a good choice as it’s also loaded with anti-allergy Omega-3′s. The offal of the protein source can be fed, but not that of other species. Protein can be served cooked or raw. Unusual carbohydrates are potatoes, rice or pulses.

An approximate recipe is 2 parts carbohydrate to 1 part protein. Protein content shouldn’t fall below 25%. While it’s tempting to incorporate other veggies, they’re not necessary in a short term trial.

Cats can receive a 100% protein diet, ideally containing a singular animal protein never previously fed. Kangaroo, rabbit, and turkey are good choices. Offal of the chosen species is ok.  Carbohydrate, veggies and other ingredients are not necessary during the trial. If your cat is unwilling to eat the one species for the 6 to 8 week trial period, you may need to select 2 proteins, and alternate.

In both cat and dog, religiously exclude ingredients commonly used in commercial pet food such as beef, chicken, lamb (for dogs), soy, dairy, fish (for cats), wheat, oats, and corn. Dairy exclusion should encompass lactose-free milk products, manufactured for pets.  Exclude all other potential food  allergen sources including treats, rawhide and ear chews, flavoured medications, and bones (including those hidden in the garden).

Dietary Imbalance
In the long-term these diets are unbalanced, however, for the 10-12 week trial period, there is no real risk of deficiency in adult animals. In young, rapidly growing animals, it’s best to consult with your regular vet regarding balancing a formulation, or using a specialised commercial diet.

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Avoid commercial foods

Ingredient lists can’t always be relied upon. Supermarket brands can contain a Noah’s Ark of unlisted protein and other ingredients. If life’s already busy enough, preparing meals for the family, and 2 months of homecooking for the pet isn’t feasible, there are a handful of commercial foods recommended by vets for an elimination trial. These cost 20-30%  more than regular pet foods, and can be used alone or supplementary to a novel, fresh meat diet:

  • Hills Prescription Diet Z/d or D/d – rice/egg
  • Eukanuba Response Formula FP – fish/potato
  • Royal Canin Therapeutic, feline: pea/duck, pea/venison, pea/rabbit, pea/lamb, or Hypoallergenic HP
  • Royal Canin Therapeutic, canine: potato/duck, potato/venison, potato/rabbit, potato/whitefish, or Hypoallergenic HP

If however, your pets skin or tummy trouble fails to improve on these commercial diets, it is still possible a home-cooked, novel protein diet may be effective.

When to do an elimination diet

Most food allergies are perennial and the flow of seasons offers no relief. However, when a pet suffers multiple allergies,and some seasonality is observed, conduct the elimination trial a time of year when the skin is usually bad, so a therapeutic benefit is easier to detect.  Ask your regular vet: your pet’s medical records will reveal the yearly pattern.

Duration of an elimination diet

If no improvement is observed during the first 6 to 8 weeks, then you can give up and accept the depressing reality: the allergen originates outside the foodbowl.
If there’s a partial response, with some improvement, but no cure, you can increase your certainty by pushing out the trial to 10-12 weeks, and see how good an outcome is achievable.
If a good response is observed, start celebrating, but don’t overlook the opportunity to get more information with the challenge, described below.

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Challenging after an elimination trial

Once you’ve established a diet which seems to have improved your pet’s health, it’s time to challenge with foods and look for symptoms to return. This is important, to firm-up our confidence the diet actually worked, and identify the exact allergen(s).

Understandably, once a food allergen is excluded and long-standing symptoms begin to clear, some pet owners are reluctant to enter a challenge phase.  Relieved from chronic skin disease, they don’t ever wanna go back, and are happy to stick with the fish and potato, or other recipe, used in the trial. The trouble wih this approach is:

  • Failure to identify the allergen, so all future dietary decisions are made in the dark. Fingering individual allergen(s) offers greater flexibility when selecting commercial foods and formulating homecooked recipes.
  • Home cooked diets are often unbalanced. This is especially important in young, rapidly growing dogs, and cats living on 100% fresh meat diets. Having at least a small amount for commercial food in the daily ration is like giving a multivitamin. For more, see The Arguement for Dietary Diversity.

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Two techniques for challenging

1) Scientifically test for the allergen, using staged re-introduction of ingredients, one-by-one. It can take between 2 days and 2 weeks for symptoms for reappear after introducing a food allergen, so don’t add a new ingredient more frequently than one every 2 weeks. Test all the major allergens starting with beef, chicken and lamb, fish for cats, and then check dairy, eggs, and pasta for wheat.

Cases of multiple allergy are rare, but if you discover one, continue to test the others. If no symptoms return, you have to question if the response to elimination diet was real, or if the skin problem spontaneously resolved, coincidentally. Once the allergen is fingered, you can start scrutinising labels and testing their claims wih your beef-detecting dog.

2) More crudely, experiment by offering commerical diets. As these represent a pot-purri of potential allergens, listed on packaging and unlisted contaminants, this process is very hit-and-miss.  This option is often favoured by pragmatic pet owners, impatient to move onto kibble or tins ASAP, and relax after 2 months of labourious dietary rules.

Best to start with some of the higher quality, novel protein diets listed above, and then gradually move to cheaper, riskier petfoods, if desired. When symptoms return, guess which is the offending ingredient.

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If you’re lucky, after 3 months of scouring butchers for exotic meats,  boiling rice and potatoes, and getting dirty looks from a fussy cat, you may be  liberated from the treadmill of derma-pharmaceuticals.  If you see no such reward, it’s no waste of time, as you  can slap-down the vet when ever he mentions the possibility of food allergy.

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28 Responses to “DIY Elimination Diet for Dog and Cat”

  1. sister tess says:

    wow, what an impressive post Matt – but can those cows yodel – or get down and boogy?
    I’ve linked to this page on today’s belly post

  2. matt says:

    Email conversation with Jennifer, cat owner, Nth Carolina.

    have you ever seen food allergy (EGC) symptoms recur only after 30 days of the food challenge? I see “3-14 days” all over the internet. My cat’s EGC disappeared after: winter season, allergy shots for dust mites/mold, and rabbit/pea. He was fine for months, then I rechallenged with original food May 2 and symptoms (rodent ulcer) appeared June2. (As on his face we noticed the day it started to appear.)

    Is symptoms after 30 days back the original “challenge” diet simply out of the question for a food allergy? He now refuses to eat the rabbit/pea diet again…we hate to go down the whole food route again unless really necessary..treating the EGC topical steroids from our vet.

    …………………..

    hi jennifer,

    the 2w deadline is a little simplistic and there would be a ‘normal distribution’ with the majority showing recurrent allergy within 14 days, but a smaller number earlier and later. A very small number may take up to month to recur.

    Even though traditional wisdom states there should be a response to an elimination diet within 6weeks, a recent article out of Ireland reported there were small numbers of cats that responsed to z/d only after 6 months on an elimination trial!.

    If your uncertain, I would look for repeatability: if you see return of the rodent ulcer after a month, or even longer, on a second rechallenge, or a third, you can definately be more sure its a dietary effect.

    cheerio

    Dr Matt Allworth, BVSc
    http://www.communityvet.net

    ………………………………..

    Hi-

    Just to let you know, we did change the cat (granuloma had recurred on original diet but only after a full 4 wks) back to the rabbit and pea “novel protein” that he had been eating in the winter/spring, and within a week or so he started to improve. He is granuloma-free now- it took about 4 wks to completely go away and he’s been fine now, about 7 weeks on this diet. Last year he had granuloma this same time of year so I don’t think it’s a seasonal effect- I think it returning to the novel protein diet.

    A note: this cat has been on allergy shots for inhalant allergies since last November (also on the rabbit/pea diet, until I tried him on the Friskies again in May). He did well on both the shots and the rabbit pea diet all last winter/spring. I think maybe this might be part of the reason the food allergy took a full month to show symptoms- maybe the shots are protective to some degree and he had to really build up a lot of antibodies to the food before he showed symptoms? The shots are reported to have a non-specific immune-mediated inflammation -dampening effect.

    At any rate the cat is doing great on the allergy shots and rabbit/pea diet. Wish I had changed back to the rabbit/pea diet weeks earlier, I didn’t realize it could take a month to show symptoms!

    Thanks for your helpful comments!

    Jen
    North Carolina

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    hi jennifer, good to hear youve made progress. The allergy is probably multifactorial with seasonal environmental and dietary contributors. If its too expensive or too boring for the cat to remain on the hypoallergenic diet all year round, you maybe be able to give the diet just during the seasons when the skin problems flare.

    Dr Matt Allworth, BVSc
    http://www.communityvet.net

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi,
    I am trying an elimination diet of Hills d/d (Venison & pea) but my cat doesn’t like it. He eats it when he gets really hungry but then he is still vomiting. This is after a week. I have read that you have to keep these diets going for 8-12 weeks but if he is still vomiting, and losing wieght how can we possibly keep it going that long? We have tried giving him zantac but we can’t get him to take it. We forced it down him for a couple of days and he got better but as soon as we stopped he started vomiting again. It was really traumatic forcing it down him. Have you got any suggestions?
    Thanks

  4. matt says:

    hi sally, complex one. is he young or old? are there any signs (thirst, diarrhoea, malena, wt loss, lethargy) it could be a more serious disease causing the vomiting (renal, hyperthyroid, diabetes, cancer, etc). palatability can be a big problem with cats, and some will go hungry for days in protest.

    zantac may offer symptomatic relief, but it alone is never going to cure and identifying the cause of the vomiting (response to diet, or blood tests/scoping/imaging) is the only sustainable solution. especially demoralising if your having to force it down.

    he may be reactive to commercial/dry foods, so trying on a whole meat diet may help with the vomiting. If you find he responds and vomiting stops and gains wt, you may then be able to experiement with commercial foods, to find one he can tolerate. If vomiting returns go back to the fresh, whole meat diet.

    If there are any of the signs of more serious disease, describes above, please involve your vet. If hes thirsty, take in a urine sample…..

    http://communityvet.net/2009/12/liquid-gold-saving-time-and-money-with-urine/

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi, THanks for your reply. he is 8 years old, same equivalent as me, so not very old! We have had the vet involved – he prescribed zantac. He isn’t any more thirsty than normal. THe vet admitted that it must be more than just a food problem. he had blood tests for liver & kidney problems which wre OK. Panceatitis test showed white cell count a bit high but they said this was probably because he was n such poor condition – dehydrated etc when the test was done. Today he had an X ray. No lumps or growths or blockages but something is odd with his small intestine, it had some sections that looked like they may not be working properly – maybe thickened or an odd shape, I don’t really know. So the vet thinks this is why he is being sick all the time but doesn’t know what is wrong with the intestine. The large intestine is OK. He took more blood for more tests and now we have anti-biotocs and zitac tablets (quarters) to try to get down him. If the anti-biotics and zitac don’t fix him after a week or so he might have a biopsy of the intestine. Will keep you informed…

  6. matt says:

    i’d be putting my money on Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which can be a severe form of food allergy that may need cortisone to treat. Other infiltrative diseases such as lymphoma are also possible. If the eosinophil count is up it may still be an allergic mechanism and persisting with a hypoallergenic diet may yet prove to be helpful. Unfortunately bowel biopsy may be the only definatively diagnosic endpoint. I’ll be interested to hear of the outcome.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi,
    In the end we had the vet open him up and look at his intestines and stuff. They took 20 biopsies of the intestine. After a week, the results came back – severe duodenal ulceration. They didn’t see any ulcers on the X-ray but they are pretty sure this is the probem because they found them in the biopsies. He had Metacam for 5 days after the op, and a long term (2 weeks) anti-biotic injection. So now we have Jeeves on Hills i/d meat which he’ll lick up the gravy with a quarter of a Pepcid tablet crushed in, and he really likes Hills i/d biscuits. He continued to be sick for another week on Hills d/d biscuits (he hated the d/d meat). The d/d biscuits just didn’t seem to be digested – a huge amount came up several hours after he had eaten. So we swapped to i/d biscuits and continues with the Pepcid and now he has not been sick for a whole week. He is slowly getting back to his old self. We were so lucky it wasn’t lymphoma, but we don’t know what caused the ulcers and they could come back I suppose. So we think things are going to be OK. Thanks for your help.

  8. ava says:

    Hi Matt.
    I have a 9 year old cocker spaniel that is amazing but has constant skin infections, black spots on his body, lipfold infection under the chin etc. so we have decided to try the elimination diet. We have chosen turkey and sweet potatoe…

    my question is how much to feed him??? He is 33-34 lbs. and loves to eat…no matter how much we give him he always wants more. I read the 2:1 ratio for carbs/protein but how much protein should he be getting and how many times a day should we be feeding him?

    should the food be raw or cooked? can I give him raw turkey bones? frozen yam so that he uses his teeth? Is 3 weeks too much to keep him on this program without vitamins?? Sorry for all the questions but I want to help my dog, not make him sick.

    Thanks.

  9. matt says:

    hi ava, chelitis, or lip fold infection can be a stubborn problem in cockers, and not commonly dietary responsive, but an elimination diet wont do any harm and may help his skin more generally.

    When formulating a ration, start with the protein, and a good rule of thumb is 2g of meat protein per kilo of body weight per day. A 15kg cocker will need 30g of meat per day. You can then work backwards to give 2 times this volume of sweet potato. If you’re concerned this portion seems too small, just keep an eye on his body weight, if it starts to drift down at week 2 you can slightly increase the ration.

    Dont worry about nutritional deficiencies during a trial period of 3 weeks, or even up to 6 weeks. Our bodies are very well adapted to coping with seasonal variation in foods.

    Cooked or raw doesnt matter, and turkey bones are ok. You could give yams frozen, but i can reassure you his teeth will not markedly deteriorate during a 3-6w period if dental abrasion is absent. read more on this at Bones of contention….

  10. Ray says:

    Hi, Matt
    I know this is an article from a couple of years ago but I’m hoping you still see comments left by visitors and can answer a question. By far your description of the elimination diet protocol is the best I’d seen when I wanted to start my dog on this program. He’s a french bulldog puppy who suddenly got terrible hives while on kibble (a very high-quality kibble, but still).

    We’re moving into week 6 of elimination with great results on raw venison, and I want to be sure that when we’re ready to start challenges we do the right thing. It’s not clear to me HOW MUCH of the reintroduced challenge food should be given. Do I switch him off the venison entirely and replace it with, say, beef, and see what happens? Or do I go half and half for a few days and then switch entirely? Or some other method? “Gradual, staged reintroduction” is unfortunately a bit vague, and I want to be sure I’m doing this right!

    Thanks so much for your help if you see this.

  11. admin says:

    hi rachelle, yep, i’d switch him to a regular commercial food, which has the same primary protein as the one that possibly caused the hives (prob beef).

    Hives are unusual and if it was caused by a food allergen, you should see a dramatic immediate response. Maybe do it during office hours, so veterinary assistance is easy and inexpensive to find, if required.

    If there is no recurrence of hives then it may be that the allergic reaction was an insect bite in the garden, 15 mins before the meal was given!

    good luck
    m

  12. admin says:

    i should add, ‘gradual staged introduction’ refers to introducing 1 ingredient every 2 weeks.

    this is useful if avoiding commercial food and looking to finger a specific ingredient, like beef or soy.

    if your going down this path, which does offer more versatility in the long term, swap all the venison for beef first.

    each fortnight add a new ingredient from the old diet

    cheers
    m

  13. Carmen says:

    I am doing the elimination diet with my dog, a 3 years old cockapoo.
    He was diagnosed with IBD on June. The vet put him on prednisone and Hills Ultra Allergen. I took him off the prednisone about a month ago, continued with Hills, and now trying the elimination diet.
    My vet told me to give him a new food for one day and watch for the symptoms for the next 3-4 days. If everything ok, move to the next food, otherwise wait until the problems clear. The first food was chicken, he vomited after the second meal, so I stoped, waited for 2 week to make sure it complety cleared (I was affraid to move to the ext one). Two days ago I gave him eggs, the same for 1 day. No problemes so far.
    What is not clear for me it is that your advise is to give the same food for 2 weeks? Or give 2 days and watch for 2 weeks for the symptoms?
    Thanks,
    C.

  14. admin says:

    It can take up to 2 weeks for an adverse response to manifest. If you get a reaction within a shorter time there is no incentive to persist.
    Continue giving the food throughout the 2 week period.

  15. Laura Seddon says:

    Hi, just come across this fabulous post as I’m researching a food elimination for my 5yr old Border Collie. She had recurring diarrhea last November after having a lovely, but greasy (roast) bone. This continued for 6 weeks, bloods revealed high folate, low B-12, so SIBO. A 6-wk course of antibiotics sorted, until vet prescribed probiotic paste at end of it … it had soya as a binder, return to diarrhea. Ended up changing good quality (well, expensive!) kibble to cheap tinned meat (Chappie in UK). Has wheat but no red meat or soya. Perfect. Sadly they’ve changed the ingredients (they deny it but consistency has gone from hard to sloppy), so whilst the actual ingredients may not have changed the bias of those ingredients have. She has now returned to 6 days of tap-like diarrhea.

    She is absolutely fit and healthy, bright eyed, bushy tailed, glossy coat, oodles of energy. Discussion with vet this week means we’re putting her on a course of 5 days of antibiotic but … due to her healthy (folate & B-12 levels as they should be) it’s got to be a food intolerance that the upset earlier in the year has triggered.

    Any thoughts would be most welcome, but my question is this: I’m fairly certain rice and potato disagrees with her. At the moment I don’t think she has a problem with wheat, but don’t really want to base an elimination diet around this. What would be your suggestion in terms of the best pulses to try, from your experience?

    Must admit I feel rather daunted at prospect of home-cooking for my girl for a couple of months – just hope I do a better job for her than I do for myself!

  16. Sharon says:

    I am 4 days into the elimination diet with my 40kg dog, amazing results already. So it is a food problem for sure. Just writing to say Thanks! I read the article, and any questions I had were answered in the comments section. Am much more confident that what I am doing is the best way forward.
    Thanks again
    S

  17. admin says:

    hi there, your dogs bowel problem is a complex one, and is likely to involve not only sensitivity to dietary constituants, but also the interaction between these and the microbiota living in her bowel.

    While SIBO is a well recognised and defined clinical entity, its aetiology is uncertain an may be associated the small intestinal insult associated with chronic bowel allergy. Response to antibiotics is often good but it is rarely long lasting.

    You have obviously invested alot of thought and energy in defining and managing her bowel trouble, but the use of commercial foods, and trusting in their ingredient lists makes the process very confusing and hit-and-miss.

    I hate to say it but a well designed and rigorous elimination diet, using only fresh ingredients is the only reliable option for, once and for all, pinpointing exactly the offending ingredient. The pulse can be any that is easiest, including precooked tinned, if that reduces the workload.

    make sure you do a challenge at the end as this will firm up your ‘fairly certains’ and ‘dont thinks’.

    lots of other thoughts but my fingers cant keep up.

    good luck

  18. Clare says:

    After a couple of weeks on steroid and an immuno suppressant and on hills ZD, we tapered off drugs to try diet alone but she has had a bad couple of days and hates the food. I would like to start a homemade elimination diet but we need her leaky gut (small lesions in small intestines) to heal otherwise she is likely to develop an allergy to the novel protein we use. This probably means steroids again, how long does it take for intestines to heal and anything else you can suggest we give her to aid the healing process.

  19. Kristen says:

    Hi, this sounds like this might be something worth trying for my cat. She seems to always have more than usual dandruff and she consistently scratches only one spot on her shoulder and it is always the same spot and she really rips at it and leaves her claw marks, no matter what time of the year it is.
    We took her to the vet and it was determined that she did not have any fungal or bacterial infection and so I have been searching my best for weeks to find something that might be the reason why and I have to say I need to try this, I also wondered, you have a list above of foods to try and you say to eliminate fish but the eukanuba is fish and potato, I wondered if that was correct, also is there a brand of ‘Blue’ cat food that would be a good try as well?

  20. admin says:

    unfortunately bowel repair may many weeks after excluding a dietary allergen.

    if you vet is having to resort to immunosuppressive doses of medication to control the bowel symptoms, youre dog may be suffering a immune mediated bowel disease, rather than just allergic.

  21. admin says:

    the eukanuba response formula FP is a fish/potato is a diet for dogs. fish is rarely an allergen for dogs, but can be allergenic to cats as they often eat lots of it.

    you need to find an exotic protein that is palatable to your cat.

    m

  22. sabrina says:

    My dog is a 22 month old wheaten terrier. She has had recurrent skin allergies noticeably starting in the fall of 2012; she scratches her face until she has bleeding lesions (they seem to be worse at the sites of whiskers, eyebrows, and other courser hair, but are other places as well). We have tried various commercial foods that claim to be single source protein but with little success. I am now going to try a fish and sweet potato diet for her but I have a question as she has some complicated orthopedic issues as well. In January, Kima was diagnosed with a stage 3 luxating patella in her left back knee. The vet recommended corrective surgery as it was progressively worsening; we aren’t sure if this was the result of an acute injury or if it was caused by some developmental/congenital issue as there is some bowing in her left femur. Anyhow, she had successful surgery in February for the patella and then three weeks later despite every effort to keep her calm, she broke two of the pins while we were with her at the vet for a check up (as the vet put it, he has never seen a crazier dog – she jumps everywhere no matter what we do). He did a second corrective surgery, placing a guard over the pins that is designed for a full-grown rottweiler and he prescribed her sedatives for the recovery period. Despite having her on the sedatives and having the guard, Kima has pulled out one of the pins and the vet will have to remove the pin after bone-healing is complete (in about 4-5 weeks). Because of her continued healing, I worry about the lack of calcium in an elimination diet – would you recommend supplementing with a human calcium supplement that is dissolved in the food?

  23. admin says:

    Several things: If the facial pruritis is seasonal, there is a likelihood that the allergen is not food, but rather airborne. However, its admirable that your doing a home-prepared, fish based diet just to be absolutely certain.

    The diet may not be calcium deficient if you use tinned salmon which contains bones, and you could use a calcium supplement, however given you in an unusual situation, where bone healing is a far greater issue and welfare impact than itchy skin, I would consider delaying the elimination diet until the tibial crest has healed.

    cheerio

  24. Michele says:

    Hello! Thank you so much for this article, and the responses to the questions posted by readers. All have been very helpful.

    I have a problem that I haven’t seen discussed. My dog is 10 years old and started developing food allergies at a young age, but I didn’t recognize what was happening. Long story short, she has leaky gut and has been on Purina HD for the past four years. This food literally saved her life but isn’t a food that I had wanted her to be on for the rest of her life.

    She is also on methylprednisilone, zantac, and diazapam. Without those she exhibits signs of pain and heartburn, and will eat volumes of grass as fast as a horse would eat.

    The only “real” food that she is able to tolerate is a little mozzarella cheese for treats, and a couple TB’s of Wellness 95% chicken in her food to make a gravy and make it more attractive to her palate.

    I thought that I would be able to start testing her with other foods after she was on the HA for some time, but she still seems unable to tolerate anything other than what I mentioned; even rice, pasta and potatoes make her sick (vomiting, eating grass). Am I stuck with this food forever, or is there a carb other than the ones mentioned that I could try with a protein that she hasn’t yet had (such as the ones mentioned in the article)? I haven’t tried these because I can’t find a carb that she can tolerate. Can she start out on pure protein for a short while?

    Any thoughts/comments are welcome, thank you so much!

  25. jackie says:

    Hi
    I have a 11 yr old cross breed male dog who since we got him at 6yrs old has chewed his feet raw with intermittent ear problems. This last year has seen him chew and itch more and we have had 3 instances of ear problems so far. Is this likely to be food?

  26. admin says:

    Its not likely to be food allergy, as food allergies are only present in about 5% of allergic dermatitis cases, but it could be. The only way to know is an elimination diet.

  27. Shirley Mcdermott says:

    Hi,t
    I have a 10 month old westie girl, who has constantly been itching for the past few months,with hot spots on her back and face, she now has an open wound on her head which sometimes bleeds,(at the moment she is having a false pregnancy)…. Been to the vet who put her on steroid tabs +cream, the tablets made her bad but the cream is healing the wound. I have changed her food so many times that i think this could be the problem at the moment she’s on symply dried and wet as this is supposed to guarantee to stop itching. she’s just finished the first 2kg bag with no improvement. Vet thinks next stage would be blood testing for allergens. Do you think the elimination diet would help? I have tried grain free +salmon/potato kibbles, but probably haven’t given them long enough, usually changing after the first bag. How long should you try a dog food before you would notice any changes? I would appreciate any advice….Thanks

  28. admin says:

    as i said in the post: failure of a commercial diet, formulated for food allergy, does not rule out food allergy. fresh, novel protein diet is the gold standard.

    you need to scrutinize the published sensitivity and specificity of any blood tests before investing in those.

    you should also understand that WHW are very prone to airborne allergies, and a food allergy is far less likely

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